Top 5 Ways I Get Things Done

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Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Who else gives themselves a pep talk when they have to complete something? I’m my own enemy when it comes to getting anything done. I know just what to tell myself in order to get out of doing anything.

“You can do it tomorrow!” “No one will know/care if you do/don’t complete this!” “Finishing this won’t matter – you’re going to fail.”

I can be pretty negative when it comes to doing something important. So how do I get it done?

1. Planners!
I use multiple planners to keep track of various tasks. I have a mini Happy Planner that is dedicated to school-related tasks, so I map out what I need to read/write/take. I have a classic Happy Planner that is for life in general. School stuff goes in here as an overview, but so do chores, appointments, and things I’d like to accomplish. I just started using the classic student Happy Planner for things such as writing, blogging, social media, health, and, for now, a school overview. Being able to see what I have to do helps me stick to a schedule.
2. Lists!
I’m a list-maker. I always have been, and I’ll guess that I always will be. I make lists in my planners, on scraps of paper, and on my phone. I get a sense of satisfaction when I check things off, and more so when ALL the tasks were checked off. That satisfaction is motivation for me, and makes it easier for me to do what needs to be done.
3. Talking!
I know it sounds crazy, but trust me – talking! I do this by telling people what I’m going to do. If I put it out there, I’m more likely to do it. If I keep it to myself, it’s easier for me to talk myself out of doing it. So, I will tell my husband what I have to get done that week, and it helps keep me accountable.
4. Entertainment!
This one depends on the task. If I’m cleaning house, I’ll watch YouTube videos or listen to music. If I’m studying, classical music. If I’m writing, I might watch TV. The background distraction is a huge help in getting something done.
Payoff!
This tactic helps more so in school-related tasks, but it helps! When I tell myself that I’m going to fail, or question why I’m in school, I have to tell myself that the payoff will be worth it. It is definitely easier said than done, but it is helpful.

As a bonus, here is a sixth way!
6. Pray!
Faith is an important part of my life. Each week, I make a very broad prayer list, and then I pray over it. The prayers are more specific, but having that list helps me, and prayer helps me! If I know God is on my side, I know I can do it.

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Weekly Meal Plan

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Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

It’s been a long time since I shared a weekly meal plan ’round here, but I have one for you this week! We’ve still been planning, and sticking to, our weekly meal plans, but I haven’t been sharing them here, obviously.

November 12: we ordered/picked up wings from a local joint. original plan was shifted to Wednesday, and that was wiped off.
November 13: Crockpot buffalo ranch meatballs, hash browns, salad.
November 14: turkey meatloaf, sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, carrots.
November 15: copycat Olive Garden chicken fettuccine alfredo.
November 16: brats, baked or fried potatoes (quite possibly changed to rice), salad.
November 17: chili
November 18: Greek-style whole chicken with roasted potatoes, carrots, French bread.

As you probably noticed, we’re not Keto/low-carb. We’ll get back to it, but right now this is easier for us. We just limit the amount.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Ink Smudges & Crumpled Paper

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Since the 4th grade, I’ve been writing. We had gone on a field trip, and were given an assignment to write a story of what we thought a day in the 1800s was like. Mine started out with my main character smelling the breakfast her mom was making. From then on, I was hooked.

My earlier writing was a lot of different takes on life in the 1800s, and even now I sometimes dip into that time period, or a similar setting, but I have started to stray more into the realm of fantasy too.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Every year, I try to do NaNoWriMo but I have yet to successfully finish a project. I love the idea, and I’m trying it this year, but I think my problem with finishing is that I am easily distracted. I’d love to be the writer that can dedicate time to writing without other worries, but I can’t. I still have my job, school, home, animals, and other obligations that keep me from focusing like I want to on my writing.

Does that mean I’m not going to attempt it this year? HECK NO!!! I have an idea that has me really excited for this year, and in general, and I can’t wait to (hopefully) see how it plays out for me this time.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

My dream is to be a published writer, and writing for myself is one of the things I think I touched on in my post about seeking balance so I feel that this year is especially important for my own mental health and well-being.

And that is why I’m going to go snuggle up in bed with my ideas (it’s cold out, okay?) and start my project. Who knows, maybe you’ll be reading it next year!

Do you love to write? Have you Ever participated in NaNoWriMo? Drop a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

Desperately Seeking Balance

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Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Growing up, I feel as if I had this image of what being an adult would be like. I’d have everything together, and things would go smoothly and without conflict.

I know, I’m laughing too.

Currently (and for forever now), I’m stressed out because on top of working full time at a job that has me stressed, I’m still in school full time, but I’m not quite finishing classes at the pace I’d like to be doing so. I spent a total of 7 weeks toiling over a class that I didn’t even complete before just Monday I moved onto the next one to try to clear my mind. I no longer have the time I feel I need to dedicate to studying because of life. We have general upkeep of the home (Kalen mainly handles the outside, and I handle the inside), general upkeep of ourselves, and of course, the animals. Molly, being a puppy, is an incredible amount of work, and we’re taking her to puppy classes once per week now, which eats up a good two hour chunk out of the 5 hours we have from the time we get home to the time we go to bed.

I feel like I am not devoting enough time to my studies, or to other things that I feel are important for my mental health. I haven’t read a book since we were in Germany I think, I haven’t been writing, I haven’t crocheted anything or made jewelry, and I haven’t spent much time reading my Bible. I’m definitely not devoting any time to physical activity (outside of your daily physical activity), and I’ve started stress-eating AND stress-spending.

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Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash

Because of this, I am realizing just how important it is to find that balance that my life is missing. To be able to do the things that I love and enjoy, but to also do the things that are necessary (I’m looking at you, dusting). I’m a planner. It’s the one thing I make sure I have a chunk of time to do on Sundays, because aside from using it to guide my days and actions, I use it as a way to be creative.

I stick to my planner pretty well, with a few exceptions, so my goal is to be sure to plan some “me time” each day or week (I haven’t decided yet on the frequency haha) and use that time to do something specific. I might plan for 15 minutes of writing on a Monday, or plan for no screen time after a certain point on a Wednesday so I’m reading before bed instead of practicing my German. I need to find another Bible app reading plan to do daily (I use the app to read the daily Bible verse). I need to carve out an hour weekly to crochet or make jewelry.

As much as I’d love to only plan to do things I love (tongue twister?), I need to make sure I’m carving out time to study, and to do chores, and to be more active. Longer walks with Molly, more time spent studying, and dusting more frequently. I fall behind too easily and too often, and I’m in a constant state of being distracted.

Also, because I know you all adore me and thing my posts are amazing and hilarious, I’m going to try to come up with, and stick to, a blogging schedule.

You’re welcome.

For now though, that’s all. I need to take a long, hot shower, and then go snuggle up with my pillows and blankets.

Catching Up with Us


August ended with a surprising quickness, and then September came and went. Now, we’re halfway through October and I’m finally getting around to making a new post. Things are occurring that I could write about, that I would love to share, and yet there seems to be no real time to do so. By the time I think of writing a post, there’s something else to attend to, and it takes a backseat.

However, one of my goals is to write more – be it here, LiveJournal, or fiction. Writing is one of my passions, and when I’m not writing, I can feel it in my soul.

Another goal that I have is to create more. In the summer months, I crochet and make jewelry less, as in not at all. A large part of it is that my hands just do not cooperate thanks to the carpal tunnel, but I got another injection last week. The first worked for almost six months, so that’s my hope for this shot. Surgery is still eventual, however.
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At the beginning of September, Kalen and some of his friends helped put up our new privacy fence! I wanted this BEFORE we even bought the house, but we had to wait. Finally though, it is done, and it is AMAZING!!!!

The biggest perk of that fence? WE GOT A DOG!!!

Meet Molly. She’s a 4 month old Lab/Shepherd mix, and we adopted her from a rescue. She’s still a naughty puppy, but we’re working on that (tonight was our first class, as a matter of fact).
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As a “thank you” for helping with the fence, and because he’s a dear friend, we dog sat Saturday for Finn, who is a beast of a puppy (he’s about 6 or 7 months old, and 65 pounds or more). As a thank you for THAT, our friend brought back a matching purple mouse collar and leash and a Minnie Mouse bow toy for Molly, and the coolest mug for me!

We celebrated a few birthdays – Kalen’s, Alan Jr.’s, Auntie’s, Jaimi’s, Jordan’s, Beatryce’s, Koda’s, Alan’s, Jack’s, Ken’s, AND the birth of my new niece Raven. We spent time with Molly and family. We relaxed at home. We decorated for Halloween (I’ll try to find time to do another post about that, because we have a few things to set out still, in the yard), and we did normal things. It’s been busy, full of love, but also chill. The cats are not pleased at the addition to the family, because although they are more than used to dogs, Molly wants to play from the start, and they want to sniff. They’ll adjust though, and they are already making it a policy to tease her relentlessly (jerks).

This Friday, Kalen and I will be seeing Francesca Battistelli, Saturday is Twenty One Pilots, and Sunday is a cheese/beer stock-up while in Wisconsin. November 10th, Ashley and I are seeing Hanson, and November 10th, Kalen and I are going with friends to see Coheed & Cambria. We also got tickets to see Twenty One Pilots June 28, 2019, and I’m so excited for all of the upcoming shows!

I’ll leave you with some recent makeup selfies I took. I just love fall makeup color schemes, don’t you?

Cookbook Meal Plan

Well, hello there! I’m a little late in the week, but I have a meal plan for you! This is this current’s week’s plan, and it’s already changed up a bit (but nothing too major), so I thought I should probably share it before the week is over and we move on.

I have a lot of cookbooks, so I thought that I should go through them, and make a list of some easy recipes that we had most of the ingredients for, and slap those bad boys on our meal plan. Among those cookbooks, there are a few that are aimed at the slow cooker. Well, one of the things I enjoy is not being hot, and using the oven in the summer is hot!

August 20th: We had a freezer meal (a pasta bake – it was a surprise haha) with some garlic bread and a salad. I wasn’t feeling well and hardly ate any of it though. 😦
August 21st: From one of the books, we made Mexican beef that we used for tacos (it’s a burrito recipe, technically), some Mexican cauliflower-rice, and some corn (odd, I know). The beef was so good, and so was the “rice.”
August 22nd: It was supposed to be what we had today, but we ended up picking up Red Robin. Kalen had a free burger, and we had to mow and do some chores when we got home, so it was late by the time we would have been able to start cooking. The weather forecast changed up so that’s why we were unprepared haha.
August 23rd: Grilled chicken breasts (bone-in and skin on, brined and seasoned with a barbecue rub from Aldi), grilled asparagus and zucchini, and some potato pierogi. Tonight’s originally planned meal will be shifted to next week or the week after.
August 24th: We primarily eat low-carb (I realize there were more carbs than usual this week, but only at dinner), so I looked through a Keto book we have, and settled on Parmesan pork chops and roasted asparagus, served with green beans. We might do salad instead of the beans though.
August 25th: Another Crockpot recipe, this time dilly beef, salad, and carrots. It called for the beef to be sandwiches, but we’re just eating it.
August 26th: Barbecue pulled pork (hey there again, Crockpot!), salad, and zucchini. Again, it called for it to be sandwiches, but we’re not doing that (unless I made some Keto bread….).
August 27th: Happy Birthday, Kalen! We’ll be ordering pizza and appetizers (probably breadsticks and mozzarella sticks), and Karen is bringing over a cake. It’s gonna be a carb-heavy day, but whatever!

Not sure what next week will look like beyond that. We’ll be eating here Tuesday-Thursday, and Friday we have a wedding. Hopefully the fence is being done Saturday and Sunday (maybe Monday?), but I don’t know. If it is, we’ll feed the guys, so we’ll probably just order out or make something simple. We’ll see.

What’s on your plates?

10 Tips to Make Meal Planning Work for You

I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve been meal planning for 6 years now, so I think it’s safe to say that I do have some insight. The day that we (or I) sit down and meal plan is probably my favorite day of the week. I’m a planner/list maker fanatic, so for me it is a fun task to complete. I love finding recipes, figuring out when to have them, and then making the grocery list.

I don’t have a lot going on in my life, okay?

I’ve mentioned to several people that I meal plan, and I’m more often than not met by confusion and asked “why?” when I do so. Aside from the why though, the most asked question I get is:
“But isn’t meal planning hard?”

I’m here to tell you that NO it is not!!! It might seem daunting at first, but once you figure out the best system for you and your family, it’s incredibly easy. So, what wisdom do I have to impart to you? Here you go!

1. Your schedule. Take a look at the week(s) you’re planning for – are there any late nights? Family events? Planned meals out? Look at the schedule and figure out how many meals you will need.
2. Decide how often you want to go grocery shopping. We do a weekly meal plan, because we shop weekly for fresh produce that just doesn’t last as long when purchased in advance (bananas, lettuce, grapes, berries, asparagus, fresh green beans, etc.). Some people I know shop monthly, and others every two weeks. Figure out what works best for you. It’s not a one-size fits all type of thing.
3. Figure out what you have one hand. If you’re like me, you have staples on hand. This is how we keep our grocery budget slightly lower, too. We stock up when something is on sale for a good price (but only if we need it), and then as we get low, watch for sales. This also helps in figuring out what you’re going to make, because you can “shop” from your pantry/freezer. Have a large amount of black beans and brown rice? Make some burrito bowls! Frozen veggies and chicken broth a’plenty? Try your hand at chicken pot pie.
4. Recipes! Pinterest, fellow bloggers, and cookbooks are your friends! Some people find it easier to just search for recipes containing whatever meat they have on hand; others find it easier to flip through their stash of cookbooks.
5. Figure out what day you’re going to make what. Maybe you have a late Tuesday night, so that’d be when you’d want to maybe go for a slow cooker recipe or something easy. I personally save my weekend meals for the more intricate meals I might want to make, such as smoking some meat, or making sous vide anything. Okay, the husband does those things, but you get the idea. I have a standing appointment on Monday evening, so those are the nights we pick something easier to make. We make something more intricate Friday-Sunday, because we have more time and we won’t need leftovers for lunch the next day.
6. I don’t plan lunches or breakfasts. We’re pretty simple here, because it’s just my husband and I. For breakfast, Monday through Friday, we each have two hardboiled eggs, and Kalen has a banana while I have a variety of fruit (typically 1 kiwi, and then two other fruits such as berries, clementines, grapes, cherries, or plums). Lunch can be leftovers, or sandwiches (we just get ham and turkey, and I have tuna, and bread/crackers/carb-free, plus cheese). Weekends we tend to have a later, bigger breakfast (bacon and eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy – you get the idea), so lunch is something snack-y like cheese or fresh vegetables. If you DO plan either of these meals, keep it simple. Oatmeal, egg muffins, frozen waffles/pancakes, muffins, sandwiches, etc. If you’re making something intricate for lunch, you’re more likely to get burnt out on the prospect of meal planning.
7. Make a shopping list – and stick to it! This is a hard one for me. More often than not, I want to stock up on sale items, and I want to buy things that sound/look good that weren’t on the list. We have a budget set for our monthly groceries, and if I don’t stick to the list, guess who goes over that budget? Me. Eat before you shop, or you’ll be more likely to shop with your stomach not your list. We have standing items that we buy each week (this would be the fresh produce mentioned earlier), so those are just a given. But otherwise, we look over the recipes, and see what they call for, which I know is obvious sounding, but you’d be surprised! We have a plethora of spices, we always have oil on hand and various sauces (soy, teriyaki, fish, Worcestershire, hot, taco, buffalo, barbecue…haha), so those are usually items we do not need (they’re things we buy as we get low, even if they’re not being used that week). We keep our freezers stocked well with meat, so that’s usually not a weekly purchase (unless it is on sale, or we’re out). Our first list is a rough draft – I’ll make marks next to the items that we need more than one of (this is usually a veggie or a cheese variety). Once we’ve gone through every recipe and figured out what we need, we write the list out in a way that makes sense for that store/those stores.
8. If you’re able to, shop sales. We have multiple nearby grocery stores, all the same distance from the house and minutes from each other, so I’ll look at the ads for Meijer, Aldi, and two local grocery stores to see who has what on sale. This is hand when stocking up, or when buying multiples. One week a local store might have cream cheese for under $1 each, or chicken thighs for $0.59/pound, so we’ll go there. Other weeks, we might only shop at Aldi. There are weeks we go to all four stores because of sales (this is usually a stock-up week). If this sounds like too much for you, shop at the store you like the best! Again, it’s not one-size fits all. And like I said, we do have a budget, but we also go over it when we stock up, and we’re okay with that hike in spending when it’s for that purpose.
9. Even if you’re not planning lunches and breakfasts, or if your “plan” for those meals is similar to ours, I would go ahead and prep what you can as soon as you get home from the store. Since the two of us go through so many eggs each week, we will use our Dash Rapid Egg Cooker (heads up, that’s an affiliate link) to hardboil two dozen eggs on Saturday/Sunday (it depends on our weekend plans for which day this is done). We also will pre-slice apples for the week (Kalen takes an apple to work each day for after he works out), usually on Sunday, and we store them in a little basket I found at the Dollar Tree around Easter time. If I buy bell peppers or cucumbers, I will slice them up and store them in my Pyrex containers (yep, that’s another affiliate link) to either grab and snack on them while at home, or take with me to work. This is also when I’d mix up any dip (ranch in sour cream, season salt and minced onion in sour cream with a dollop of mayo, Italian dressing seasoning in sour cream…you get the idea) and store that in a Pyrex container from that same set or from this Pyrex set (there’s a trend here – that’s another affiliate link). Prepping produce like this makes it easier for us to eat it, and for it to not go to waste.
10. KEEP IT SIMPLE!!! I cannot stress this one enough. If you are picking a week’s worth of complicated recipes, there’s a higher chance that you will get burnt out and end up eating out. Like I said, we save our more involved recipes for the weekends, which is when we have more time because we’re off on the weekend, but during the week we both work, so it just makes sense to make something easier.

So those are my top 10 tips on how to make meal planning work for you! Drop a comment below to let me know if you have anything to add, or if you found this list helpful at all! And if you have a meal plan up on your blog, share it! I’d love to see what you’re eating!

The Summer Starts to End…

Summertime is FLYING by and it’s really kind of scary to think that 2018 is almost over. Can I slow time down, just a little? Because I feel like there’s so much I need to do this year, and now I have hardly any time left to accomplish any of it. Also, I have done none of it, so there’s that. Go me?

School is going by slowly and is beyond stressful. I’ve been struggling through macroeconomics and I have a sinking feeling that it won’t be finished by the end of the month when the term ends. I’ve been studying, doing the practice quizzes, and the study guide, but while I think I know the material while I’m reading, it makes no sense when I’m taking the quizzes and I feel like I know absolutely nothing. It’s so frustrating. I have never struggled to grasp anything like this before.

We are finally moving forward with fencing in the yard! We had a few companies come out and give us quotes, and after he was talking about it at work, Kalen and his coworkers are going to put up the fence, so we’re saving about $1500-$2000, which is a HUGE plus. We had the utilities marked, and tomorrow Kalen has to drop off the plans/request so it can be approved. I’m praying that they approve it and we can get it up and over with sooner rather than later.

In July, my Mom and Jack adopted a new cat. Meet my sister, Gracie!
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She is super cuddly and very vocal about wanting those cuddles!

In July, I celebrated 9 years of dating Kalen. NINE FREAKING YEARS!!! It’s so hard to believe it’s been that long when it feels like just yesterday I met him for the first time.

On Saturday, I had a hair appointment (cut and color, because hello grays!), and actually got a real cut!

Before:

After:

I’ve had people say it looks healthier, but my hair WAS healthy. I had been using Monat (it might work for some, but it destroyed my hair), and that’s when I lost my hair like that. So the ends were super thin, and it IS growing back in, but that means that long hair just wasn’t a cute look. It is still thin, as I said, but not scraggly looking, thankfully. Most importantly though: I can still put it back into a ponytail, albeit a small one. Anyway, I love it and it makes styling so much easier! I’ve been using LUS brand products to style, and they are best applied to wet hair so after I rake it in, I scrunch out the excess water, then plop with an old t-shirt, and after I do my makeup or whatever else, I will diffuse it. It’s wonderful.

Side note, it’s not lightened in color, but I had to use that filter so you could see the cut itself.

On that note, this curly girl is about to go to bed, but I will be posting with a budget update (I need to redo it and you know, stick to it this time) and some updates to our grocery shopping/meal planning soon, I promise! Things have been hectic with school and life in general though.

What is your favorite thing about summer? For me, it is the time spent with family, swimming and cooking out and sitting on the deck, talking into the night.

Snapshots of Life

Sometimes an absence can make things seem overwhelming. When I take a break from studying, like I did while we were in Germany, I came home and felt so far behind and pressured that I kind of ignored things for a little bit longer.
I have some unhealthy coping mechanisms.

I’m happy to say that I finally completed and submitted my performance assessment for my Healthcare Values & Ethics class, and passed upon my first submission! Now I just have to get through Macroeconomics and then Microeconomics, and this term will be complete! Now if only I could manage to get in more than four classes per term and finish sooner, things would be great….

I decided that, since I’ve been gone so long with no real updates, that I would just post some random pictures from various “big” events that happened between our return and now. I still plan on doing a post about Germany, but that will take some time.

Here we go!


I’m in a Facebook group for modest dress, and while I don’t wear skirts/dresses 100% of the time, and I DO wear shorts and tank tops, I have some modesty standards. Anyway, there was a challenge for June, so I managed 4 days haha.


There is technically one extra picture of Ellie, but in general I think I have more of Sirius because he tends to sit still more often than she does.

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I am a HUGE fan of Anthony Bourdain, and the news of his suicide really hit hard. I had tweeted about it (original tweet HERE) and a friend of mine posted and asked if anyone had for the newscast. I said I did, and the next thing I know (after giving him the okay to share it) I’m being tagged in posts that I was on the news. I joked that I’d be signing autographs later, and no one asked for one. Hmph.


The beginning of June (this was the same day we heard the news of Anthony Bourdain too) saw a visit from family who live in Ireland. Okay, not technically family, but they’re family. Steve, Sarah, Brendan, Maeve (twins), and Saoirse, plus their foster daughter, were here for a week, then in Illinois for a week. So we naturally had to have a huge party! I miss them so much when they’re gone, and I’m really thinking that our next hashtag will be #DubricksinIreland because we’re starting to plan a trip there to visit. The group picture of us outside? Yeah, we were all crowded around my sister, who won her first HQ game (and got a big payout since it was during the NBA finals). It was a great time!

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In June I also met a friend of mine from LiveJournal that I’ve known since 2004. Crazy!!!


June was both happy and sad. Meet Loki. Karen found him outside (with an all-black sibling) and noticed that he seemed sick. He warmed right up to her, and she took him to vet. He was about 1.5 pounds, and approximately 6 weeks old. With pneumonia. So, he was put on medicine, and she kept him in her bathroom (she even slept on the floor one night so he wouldn’t be lonely). He seemed to have a hard time getting better. She took him to the emergency vet last Saturday. Sunday she got a call saying she could go get him and he was looking better. She got there, and the vet who took that shift said he wanted to keep him there for another few hours, but let her go see him (she said he didn’t look better). About 15 minutes later she got a call – Loki had died. Even if he could have gotten over the pneumonia, they said they discovered he had a polyp and wouldn’t have been able to keep food down. In those two weeks, she was smitten. Hell, we all were to be honest. My only happy thought is that he knew a loving, warm home. Sweet boy.

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We’ve spent copious amounts of time swimming at my Auntie’s house (I don’t remember if this was Memorial Day weekend or Father’s Day weekend, but I think it was Memorial Day).


My feelings on school. The first was taken Monday while waiting for my student mentor to call. The other two were taken on my break at work on Thursday while I was studying. Macroeconomics is not my jam.

My company also had a senior event at a nearby baseball stadium that was a huge success, and we saw some company changes take place (good and bad all in one). So, it has been an interesting month, and now it is over!

How has your summer been so far? Tell me in the comments below!

Control Issues

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I touched on us wanting to save money, spend less, and be stricter with our grocery budget. Upon our return from Germany, I used a few of my lunch breaks at work to kind of make a rough version of a budget since it wouldn’t have been completely accurate to really sit down and see what we spent on groceries, etc., when we were gone for two weeks.

So I did just that. I looked at the list of bills Kalen had given me. I wrote them down in my green notebook. I wrote down the amounts we pay each month, the amount we owe, and the due dates. I wrote down what our monthly income is. I wrote down the amount in our savings accounts. And I tried to figure stuff out.

For us, June meant a third check. We both get paid bi-weekly, each on the same day. That meant we ended up with some extra cash. Kalen received a raise before we embarked on our vacation, and it was backdated to the beginning of April. There was a snag and it didn’t hit until that last check, which would April, May, and two weeks of June. We decided to take that extra amount, after making sure we had left $2800 in our checking (we do that each time we’re paid, as a buffer), and put it towards our lowest balance credit card. With a limit of $3000, we owed approximately $1900. We paid that off, then put $500 to each of our other credit cards, and then put the rest of that into our savings account.

We decided that, rather than take Kalen’s raise into account, we’d continue to use our monthly income as what it was pre-raise, and then the difference in his pay will go to our savings account. With the other card paid off, that also frees up an extra $600 a month to go towards our other two credit cards.

So, I figured that if I posted here what we pay/owe as of 6/14/18/plan, it will help hold us accountable. Spending is a bad habit of mine – I love to shop, and I love to find new things. It is a habit I need to break though, because when/if we’re able to have children, I’d love to be able to stay at home with them and raise them. That will of course result in a loss of income, so the less debt we have – the less I spend, the better we’ll be.

Mortgage: $1193.86
Car payments: $597.95 (owe: $19252.37
Phone payments: $62.71 (owe: $752.48)
Phone bill: approximately $80.00 (we recently lowered our prepaid plans, so the new amount hasn’t been taken out yet)
NIPSCO: $169.00 (we’re on a budget plan)
Car insurance: $77.27/month and $927.20 every 12 months
Comcast Internet: $39.99 but increasing to $79.99
Discover student loan: $50.65 (this is Kalen’s loan) (owe: $4136.76)
Federal student loan: $419.58 (this is Kalen’s loan) (owe: $49657.63)
Hulu & Spotify bundle: $5.00(this is a student price)
Utilities: approximately $95.00 (this is water/sewer/trash)
Backblaze: $15.00
Costco Visa: $800.00 before the Chase was paid off, will be $1100 (owe: $6789.61 with a limit of $7500.00)
Discover: $800.00 before the Chase was paid off, will be $1100 (owe: $16351.45 with a limit of $20000)
Gas: approximately $150.00 monthly (I drive about 45 minutes one way to work, and Kalen drives about 10 minutes one way, and he periodically rides his bike)
Groceries: approximately $400 monthly is our GOAL, and this is without trips to Costco.

Without the mortgage taken into consideration (because I don’t have the total due for that), we owe $98891.05. If you take out the car loans and student loans, we owe $25754.29.

When I first saw any of these numbers, I had a “HOLY SHIT!” moment. I knew we owed money, but damn! The loans – well, we were not the smartest and took out more than we needed, and at the time it was helpful but now we regret that. I will owe a similar amount when I graduate. The car loans are equally stupid. When Kalen got his job, both of our cars were on their last legs, and so we leased our cars. Had we been slightly more patient, and researched more, we wouldn’t have leased. I had leased before and did not want to do it again, but we did not think we had any other option. Rather than turn them in, we took out a loan through our credit union (stupid low interest rate), and we kept the cars. We have prepaid phone plans, so when we needed new phones, we were able to set up a payment plan. Not the brightest idea, but what are you going to do?

Our credit card debt is pretty damn hefty. In our defense, some of that high balance is the result of house expenses, such as a couch and a fridge, and of course the painting of the living room. Could we have waited to purchase those items for a time when we had the cash? Absolutely. However, if we had done that, I wouldn’t be perched on my couch right now, our walls would be nicotine-stained white walls, and we’d be short a fridge. We’d actually be short quite a bit of our furniture.

So my plan/goal (well, OUR plan/goal) is to be more in control of our spending. The $1100 to each card will have the Costco Visa paid off in approximately 6 months. Then we’ll be at a balance of approximately $9900, and by applying the $2200 to that, it will be paid off in about 5 months. This, of course, is dependent on us not using the cards. I’ll be happy just to have the balances down to a manageable amount. Prior to buying a house, we paid them off each month.

Once those are down, we’ll take that money and put it towards something else – I want to put it to the car payments, but as those are the lowest interest rate bills, it would make more sense to put it towards student loans or the mortgage. Of course, this will be determined when the time comes, but it’s nice to have a plan in place.

If we put it towards the Discover student loan, we’d knock that out in 2 months. If you’re following, we’re now 1 year out (and of course, that amount will have changed by then). Following THAT, we could then put the $2200 and the $50.65 to the Federal student loan balance, which would be around $44620.51, and in around 20 months, that debt would be knocked out too. At that point, our cars would be paid off as well, as would our phones. THAT would then give us $3330.89 extra per month.

Of course, this is all without anything coming up, not including any raises or pay cuts, not including any other bills being introduced, and not including interest or other charges. BUT…that means that in about 3 years, we’ll only have our mortgage payment, and of course my student loans once they are in repayment (but then, those could easily be knocked out).

Three years seems like such a long time, but it also seems like such a short time too (around 1.5 years). Saying that in less than 5 years we will be down to a mortgage payment is pretty awesome.

Also, if I am not done with school in 5 years, I am requesting that someone come punch me in the face.

Anyone have any ideas or tips for this plan? I’d love to hear feedback!!!